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The UCCP-EMC History
It was at the turn of the last century that a country was to be reborn. The Philippines, ruled by Spain for 400 years was to give up its hold on their colony as a more superior nation takes over. It was in the year 1898, in the waters of Manila Bay that the American Fleet defeated the Spanish Armada. With tha defeat came a new order and a new beginning.
As the American way of life and governance came in, religious aspect of it came into play. In the summer months of 1899 a shipped docked in Manila bearing Rev. Dr. James B. Rodgers and with him the start of the American Presbyterian mission in the Philippines. The first Presbyterian work in Manila started two areas: in Binondo and in the Ermita-Malate area. From there missions to as far south of the country continued - Cavite, Laguna, Quezon, Bicol, the Visayas and Mindanao.
The 2 buildings were the Ellinwood Boy's Dormitory and the Ellinwood Bible School for Girls. English Sunday Services were held for students staying at the dormitory and also a separate Tagalog service for families staying in the Ermita-Malate area. From the start of formal worship services in 1907, the Rev. Dr. George Wright and his wife Anna were at the reins of the ministry. As years passed, both the Ellinwood and Malate congregations increased in number and the chapel in the dormitory was starting to become smaller and smaller as each Sunday passed.
In 1927 the 2 congregations started to dream of a bigger sanctuary 5 years later with Rev.Catalino Paulino, Ellinwood's first Filipino pastor, helping out, a new sanctuary was constructed and a new congregation was born. The members of the Ellinwood and Malate Congregation decided to become one and thus be called Ellinwood- Malate Church.
In the Middle of a War
The Wrights retired in 1937 ending 34 faithful years of service in the Philippines. The Ellinwood ministry was continued in 1937-38 by three successive pastors: Dr. Hooper, Dr. Hibbard and Dr. Hamilton. In 1938, Hugh Bousman assumed pastoral responsibilities of the congregation. War clouds loomed heavily on the Pacific and in the 1941 war broke between the US and Japan with the Philippines caught in the middle.
The next 2 decades saw Ellinwood discovering its vocation as a city church. With new Filipino leadership: Revs. David Raymuno, Eli Mapanao, Dave Geconcillo, Cirilio del Carmen, Juan Pia, Eduardo Panganiban, Salvador Eduarte, Dick Solis, Cirilo Rigos and Dario Alampay Ellinwood takes its place as one of the leading protestant churches in the country. In 1996 Ellinwood Malate Church called its first woman Administrative Pastor - The Rev. Dr. Ruth Panganiban-Billena. To date Ellinwood holds 6 worship services, maintains 2 outreach churches, holds 40 Sunday School classes and Bible Study groups, has 8 choirs, 6 Schooners groups, 30 outreach centers catering to the needs of over 700 children and adults, a 150-member youth group, a Sports Ministry, a scouting unit, a theater group, a student center catering to students enrolled in 6 colleges and universities, a medical ministry all focused on providing an abundant and meaningful life for all people.
The New Millenium
Facing the new millenium, Ellinwood has focused on being and becoming a caring and empowering church, proclaiming the Good News of Christ to its environs and the world. And so Ellinwood is challenged to focus its ministries to the marginalized, the street children, the homeless, and those in prison. Ministries are being carried out the area of peace making, justice and reconciliation, while not losing sight of nurturing, church growth and evangelism. With its close to 2,500 members and 7 church workers, Ellinwood Malate Church continues to carry the torch of God's light declaring with power and compassion that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Work started in the Ermita-Malate area with students and local families. In only 3 years after the arrival of Rev.Rodgers close to about 400 Filipinos were attending Bible Studies and house services in Malate, separate services were being held for Americans. The Ellinwood name enters the picture at this time with the erection of 2 buildings on Calle Wright now Vasquez St. The buildings were completed in 1906 and were named after the Rev. Dr. Francis F. Ellinwood who had been Secretary General of the Presbyterian Foreign Mission Board from 1871 - 1907. It was through his initiative that the Presbyterian Mission entered the Philippines.
Hugh Bousman was incarcerated and all other American pastors. It was during this time that Rev. Dionisio Alejandro, a Methodist minister, served as Ellinwood's pastor. During those tumultuous years members of Ellinwood-Malate continued faithfully with its ministry.
Manila was heavily bombed but miraculously Ellinwood was spared, all other structures were crushed to the ground within a kilometer radius. When the Americans returned in 1945, Rev. Bousman briefly resumed his pastoral duties, followed by Rev. Christie until 1946.
On May 6, 1946 the last of the Presbyterian American missionaries arrived on Philippine shores by the way of the Rev. Eugene Hessel and his wife Betty. Manila was in ruins and Ellinwood Church was ministering to a nation that was struggling to return to its feet. Migrants came to Manila to find work. Students returned to their schools. Families started picking up the pieces of their lives. Ellinwood was in the middle of all these. The church held services then for American, Chinese, and almost all the major dialects of the country. The church also embarked on a progressive social work campaign. Membership rose to more than a thousand.
In 1948, Ellinwood was a lead church in pursuing an organic union between 5 major denominations: the Presbyterians, Disciples of Christ, United Brethren, Congregationalists and the Philippine Methodist Church. On May 22, 1948 the United Church of Christ in the Philippines was born right here in Ellinwood's old sanctuary.
As ministries began to grow and increase the church dreamed once more of building a bigger sanctuary. And so in December of 1956, the new Ellinwood sanctuary was completed. In 1958, Rev. Hessel, the last American pastor of Ellinwood, returned to America.
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- Account Name: Ellinwood Malate Church, Inc.
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Lectionary for March 2014
March 2 “The Glory of God Made Manifest” (Communion Sunday)Texts: Exodus 24:12-18; Matthew 17:1-9
March 9 “The Call to Humility & Repentance” (First Sunday in Lent)Texts: Psalm 32; Matthew 4:1-11
March 16 “The Call to be a Blessing” (Second Sunday in Lent)Texts: Genesis 12:1-4a; John 3:1-17
March 23 “The Character of a True Believer” (Third Sunday in Lent)Texts: Exodus 17:1-17; Romans 5:1-11
March 30 “Distinguishing Between the Essentials and the Externals” (Fourth Sunday in Lent)Texts: 1 Samuel 16: 1-13; Ephesians 5:8-14